Crafting a Healthy Heart

Last year my dad went through a triple bypass. Part of the process the patients go through is having to cough to clear out their system. It hurts, considering that their chest has just been ripped apart and put back together. I remember seeing my dad’s eyes water everytime he had to cough and that made my eyes water too!

The process entails them clutching a large pillow to their chest. My dad had his surgery at Thunderbird Banner Heath (nice place!) and they had many heart-shaped pillows that had been donated by local sewers.

Of course, being crafty little me, I couldn’t dare let my precious padre use one of the donated pillows, although they were quite lovely. The night before his surgery I furiously cranked out a picture pillow in the shape of a heart for him to use. I took photos of my mom, me, my brother, sister and my kids and copied them to fabric and used them for the fabric.

I’m such a cry baby. The entire time, I cried and prayed, prayed and cried while putting together all the pieces. Especially while cutting up all these beautiful photos of my dad at all different ages. I even smeared some of the ink on the transfer fabric because of water streaming down my cheeks, off my chin and on to my work table. Even so, the sewing of the pillow helped calm my nerves and it gave me hope that my crafty skills would literally help heal my pop. The thought of my one and only dad going through such a big operation was mind blowing and quite traumatic for the entire familia. Thank God, he came out as good as new!! Even telling jokes to the surgeon! And best of all, he is still doing great today, and in fact, he will celebrate his 70th birthday this week. Rock on, Daddy!!

So anyway, about the pillows. I was poking around Fiskars web site (they had lots of new fantastic products at the CHA show!) and I came across this wonderful contest that choked me up.

Fiskars is teaming up with the American Heart Association for a pillow crafting contest!! Here is the text from the site:

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of American women. The good news is that heart disease can largely be prevented through diet, exercise and risk factor reduction. While recovering from surgery, some patients find that holding a pillow tight to their chest helps ease the pain of coughing.

Join Fiskars in supporting the American Heart Association by entering our pillow crafting contest.

When complete, upload your finished project to our gallery. On March 10th winners will be chosen to receive the limited edition American Heart Association products from Fiskars. Give your pillow to a friend recovering from heart surgery, or donate it to your local American Heart Association.

Click here to find out more about the limited edition American Heart Association products. http://www.fiskarscrafts.com/articles/t_support-the-american-heart-associa.aspx

Here are directions from Fiskars for making a heart pillow. Check back soon because I will post a picture of the pillow I made for my dad (ie: I’m running to my parent’s house right now to snap a picture!)

Aside from the contest, if you have free time and are looking for a craft to donate, the heart pillows are an awesome avenue. Call your local heart care center and ask if they take them. One thing I remember while spending so much time at the hospital is seeing all of the bypass patients hug those love cushions with all their might against their chests.

Hello??? How much closer can you get to sending some love, than to make a heart pillow that will heal a person on the inside AND out???

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Author of Crafty Chica’s Art de la Soul: Glittery Ideas to Liven Up Your Life ($19.95, Rayo Books, an imprint of Harper Collins).
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